Africa Fashion Guide
A social enterprise promoting sustainability within Africa's fashion and textile industry.


August 14th, 2011

Choolips – Designer PROFILE

CHOOLIPS’ Designer Annegret Affolderbach is often referred to as a ‘fashion entrepreneur’ with an interesting background, great achievements and an inspiring vision. Annegret grew up in East Germany, but moved to London in the mid 90’s. Her interest in textiles and fabric techniques left her to look into bringing back to life ancient techniques such as Batik and to then create beautiful dresses aswell as jackets, playsuits, skirts and accessories. CHOOLIPS garments are made following strict Fairtrade principles and is produced by a local skilled workforce in the home country of those techniques, most notoriously in Ghana. The focus is to empower developing communities and flourishes on the concept of ‘Trade not Aid’.

Choolips-GoldCoast 2009 collection-image copyright Tabeisa

The first CHOOLIPs’ collection entitled Golden Coast collection is inspired by the soul of Ghana’s streets: its music and its people. Fairly traded and entirely made in Ghana by local batikers, tailors and seamstresses, the collection is colourful, bright and bold. This stemmed off an award winning ‘Design 4 Life Ghana’ Tabeisa competition run by the Ethical Fashion Forum. Annegret’s dress won and this became a FAIRTRADE reality for retailer TOPSHOP in SS2007 and where Choolips was birthed.

Choolips image – 2011 collection
Choolips image – 2011 collection

CHOOLIPS as a company has been awarded ‘Global Commercial Dress & Print Design’/Ethical Fashion Forum’ and has even been snapped up by Topshop where it had great success. Annegret and her work with Choolips has also been recognised beyond commercial success with awards such as ‘Young Fashion Entrepreneur of the Year 2009′ – Finalist/British Council’ and also for the ‘Barclays Innovative Business of the Year 2008′.

Annegret was earlier in the year approached by the fashion website Tribaspace to bring her views & visions on Sustainable Fashion into her own column on their site called {sustain} which ‘looked at the journey of Eco/Sustainable Fashion, the exciting & innovative businesses it unfolds and the potent future it presents for our global Fashion Industry.’ For this she even interviewed Chairman of the British Fashion Council Harold Tillman. As she says ‘Given my passion for words on paper & the subject in hand it was a perfect proposition.’

CHOOLIPS utilise their statement batik prints into producing bright beautiful scarves for AW2011 with a big variety or colours and styles to choose from. Also shows how the label is growing into other product categories.

Choolips image – AW2011 – Tropical Amazon / Scarf

Overall CHOOLIPS champions all principles of sustainable and equitable trade and so CHOOLIPS works specifically with communities of grassroots trailblazers that follow more than Fairtrade principles. Most exquisitely CHOOLIPS products pay more than living wages.



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